Saturday, May 31, 2008

30 Years Ago

This past week Jan and passed a mile stone, our 30th anniversary. Please excuse me if I indulge in a little history. Jan and I met in 1976, on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, in the cafeteria of Conneaut Lake Amusement Park. Over a summer of working together we fell in love. A few months later we were engaged, and two years later, on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend we were joined in marriage. Little did we know what our married life would bring. Our plans were for me to finish my undergraduate degree and then attend seminary (Jan had graduated before we were married).

We’ve learned since those early days that plans change, particularly if you wish to follow God. During my final year of undergraduate school, Jan responded to a call to ordained ministry. So in 1979 we both started our studies at Drew Theological School and began the experiment of job sharing. This new plan grew from our desire to respond to our call to be parents and to be pastors.

Well the experiment has lasted 29 years and continues. Our calling brought us to Maine (a state I had never even visited) to serve churches in Newport and Detroit. We were the first United Methodist clergy couple in the Northeast to job share. We were warned that it would not work (“someone had to be in charge”) and our children would be seriously warped (“they needed to bond with their mother”). Still we chose to followed our calling to co-parenting and co-pastoring.

Again, after 23 years in the parish, following God took us places we never expected to go, to become co-district superintendents. This is the most challenging position I have ever held.

Looking back over these thirty years, I do not regret any of it. We’ve weathered challenges from within and without. Our children have grown up to be well adjusted, creative, caring, incredible adults (okay, so I am a little biased).

So is there some point to my nostalgic ramblings? Probably not. Maybe there is an invitation and a warning. Following God is an incredible way to live! God leads us to places we never imagined and to do things we did not know were possible. If you are a person who wants life all carefully laid out with an iron clad plan for the future, be forewarned, following God will make a mess of your plans. It has of mine and for that I am forever grateful.

Thirty years ago. Who would have thought it possible? I wonder what the next thirty will bring, probably something amazing, challenging and wonderful.




KristaBeth said...

Congratulations and many blessings for 30 more wonder-filled years!

Wade said...

I appreciate you sharing your story. My wife and I are a clergy couple serving together for the last 2 years and we hope to be "co-parents" someday. Your story was very encouraging to me. In fact, I would like to share it with a clergy couple group that I am involved in.